Yesterday in part one, I explained about how we often base our thinking about what’s likely to happen in our relationships based on exceptions and anomalies instead of the reality. Part of this stems from what can be a tendency to dine off illusions in poor relationships, but it also largely stems from the fact that many of us pursue relationship agendas where we effectively hope that in spite of someone’s consistent behaviour, that they’ll make us the exception to their rule.
This feeds back into pursuing the fairy tale, albeit a warped one where “The frog has become symbolic of taking a man, any man, and no matter how badly he behaves, believing with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, that in there, lies a prince. After all, one day, our prince will come, won’t he?”
You’re effectively believing that the reward of gambling on this person and it coming through will outweigh all of the pain en route.
However as I talked about in my post on knowing when to fold in relationships, it’s a bit like betting on a 3-legged horse and wondering why it doesn’t race and win like a thoroughbred….
If the 3-legged horse did win, it’d be like a miracle…or something straight out of a fairy tale…
By choosing relationships that have negative patterns at the heart of them and then wanting to be the exception, it’s like actively seeking out ‘less than’ partners and hoping that with the right amount of love and care, that they will ‘see’ you and ‘value’ you, and make you the exception to the rule of treating people poorly. Unfortunately, when we ‘love’ and ‘care’ about people who not only don’t feel the same way but have some pretty poor relationship habits themselves, we send a signal that we can’t possibly like or love ourselves very much and this is often exploited.
Shouldn’t you want more than a ‘less than’ partner?
More often than not, the overwhelming rule is that when someone acts without love, care, trust, and respect towards you and doesn’t want to be in the relationship in the way that you want to be in it, you will end up in a negative cycle of feeling invalidated, seeking validation, and feeling perpetually disappointed that they are not changing and ‘reciprocating’ in spite of the fact that you’re there.
You’ll feel aggrieved that you’re showing and giving all of this ‘love’ and feel rejected by their lack of care with what you’re giving. However in spite of the fact that you know you’re not being treated that well, you’ll stay, partly because you feel like you’ve invested so much that you want to see your investment pay off, and partly because in choosing this destructive relationship and feeling rejected, you keep trying to ‘prove’ yourself and assume it’s something flawed in you that has caused it. You hope that the ‘work’ you put in will pay off – you think that the ‘end’ (I guess that would be the fairy tale ending where they eventually make you the exception), will justify the means.
Part of the desire to get these people to be the exception is that as humans we’re creatures of habit averse to change.
We’ll ‘happily’ indulge in relationship insanity – repeatedly doing the same things and expecting different results – because it seems easier to stick with the familiar uncomfortable than it is to make real change and go with the unfamiliar unknown. We dramatise the ‘unknown’ and create obstacles and pitfalls, even though in the familiar uncomfortable that we’ve lived and are living, there are plenty of obstacles and pitfalls that have created and are creating pain – obstacles and pitfalls that we stick by in a better the devil you know mentality, especially when you think that the devil that you know might just come good one day.
In part one yesterday ‘Brightside’ commented about how she had once been the exception and had a man leave his wife for her only to experience ten years of pain – the relationship is over now. But she added “…as I recover from my experience of being an exception, I have found myself wishing to be an exception again. Again!! Who am I kidding besides myself? Does lightening strike twice in the same place? Who wins the lottery twice? And yet, I cannot convince myself I will NOT be the exception this time.”
Yes people – we are waiting around for lightening to strike! Twice even! The thing is, even if it does strike, it’s a bit like getting a poisoned chalice. Do you really want to be struck by lightening? Likewise, would you base your life around trying to win the lottery?
Oddly, these two things are symbolic of something. The ‘lightening’ is basically standing still and hoping that a series of things will come together in some random circumstance and strike you. The ‘lottery’ is basically going for the ‘win’ not ‘earn’ route, again with a random circumstance. Both represent a ‘better to wait for things to change rather than do the inner work’.
Managing our desire to be the exception in relationships has really got to be a call to action where we have to address our ego’s – yes, we all have them, not just assclowns and Mr Unavailables!
As I have consistently said, we have to connect the fact that if we don’t like never mind love ourselves, we will put ourselves in incredibly painful relationship situations as we attempt to seek validation and try to fill a gaping void with attention from someone else, when we really need to fill up our own tank.
In our attempts to fill up our tanks and seeking to be the ‘exception’ we’re going out looking for ‘major’ signs.
It’s not enough to meet a decent guy, who wants to call when he says he will, get together consistently and grow a relationship with you where the attraction continues to grow in a healthy way, where you can have boundaries and be treated with love, care, trust, and respect.
No – we want a ‘big show’ of love with fireworks, roaring chemistry, and little substance, and what better way to get someone to make you the exception by:
Having them leave someone else for you.
Sleeping with them in a booty call/Friends Who Eff/casual sex/or whatever you want to call it arrangement and them eventually ‘falling in love’ with you and forsaking all others and declaring you ‘the one’.
Being treated poorly while you’re in a ‘relationship’ with them and after a series of attempts at breaking up, you cut contact properly, and this time he comes crawling back on his hands and knees because he has suddenly seen the light.
Having a barely there relationship where the bulk of communication is by text/email/instant messenger. Occasionally you speak on the phone normally when you’re clarifying date arrangements, and dinner and drinks is really just soaping you up for a shag. You keep pushing for more, he keeps telling you it’s all you’re going to get. But you stay. Eventually, after willing, waiting, and hoping, he ‘suddenly’ decides he’s ready. Five/ten/fifteen years later.
Being lied to constantly. Not knowing where they are, who they’re with. Maybe they’ve run up your credit cards, lost you your house, spun a web of lies, cheated, begged, borrowed, and stolen. But one day, he’s going to have a visit from the Ghost of Assclown Past, and he’s going to come grovelling on his knees and beg forgiveness and be a better man and you’ll live happily ever after.
I could give you umpteen scenarios but I’ll spare you!
If we choose partners that respect our boundaries and act with love, care, trust, and respect as part of their general character, these people are far more likely to yield a decent relationship because it’s not a stretch to behave decently – it’s part of their core behaviour because they act with integrity and strong values in all areas.
It’s important to note that often in being involved with people who create unhealthy relationships, we have to make them the exception and create a whole different set of rules – I constantly hear from women how they accept behaviour from men and act differently in relationships, in ways that would be totally unacceptable in other areas of their lives.
It’s time to start asking yourself what you’re asking to be the exception to. If you’re asking someone to make you the exception to their habit of treating partners badly, cheating, taking money, backtracking on promises, flip flapping about making decisions, and doing things to serve their own ends, I suggest you rewrite your vision of the fairy tale before you let the goodness be drained out of your life.
Many people operate off the ‘they have their good points’ and even if it’s 10%, they ignore the other very worrying 90%…
Let’s be real – it’s pretty ‘exceptional’ for someone to radicalise themselves and take such a massive leap in character.
I’m not saying it doesn’t happen however maybe it’s time to worry about why you need someone so lacking in basic character and relationship decency.
Use your pattern of relationships and also what you know about your ‘partners’ character and behaviour to establish the ‘rule’ – you know who they are based on how they consistently behave, not the pockets/glimmers of good.
Choose to make your future relationships exceptions to your usual rule by choosing different routes.
Make sure that you increase the likelihood of being treated decently and being in a healthy relationship, by engaging with and choosing to be with people who reflect positive beliefs about relationships and are not reliant on you having no boundaries and not enough love, care, trust, and respect for yourself.
Stop relying on people to change so dramatically for your relationships to work. You only have to look at what has happened in the past to know that this kind of change is limited. Chasing the exception is refusing to be self-aware and deal with your own needs for change and instead hoping that if you stay as you are, someone, somewhere, will eventually change and be the exception to a painful rule of behaviour.